King Edmond Dakuru, the Paramount ruler of Nembe Kingdom in Bayelsa, has urged the Federal Government to tackle the lingering issue of local government autonomy by using its veto power.
Dakuru told Newsmen on Monday in Port Harcourt that the measure had become necessary to assist the Federal Government impact efficiently on the local populace.
He urged the Federal Government to exercise its supreme power to achieve financial independence which is key to true democracy for the third tier of government.
The monarch said that local governments over the years had failed in terms of attracting real development to the local populace and so, should be granted autonomy to enable it take full control of its revenue and needs of the local people.
“I don’t believe that legislation is the only way through which governors can effectively supervise local government council chairmen.
“ I’m of the opinion that governors should first set good examples, they should remove the logs in their eyes so that they can see clearly the mote in the eyes of their local government chairmen.
“The governors always have the leverage to influence the local government by adopting good leadership and accountability at the state level, after all they are a senior tier,” he said.
Dakuru described as “worrisome’’, the insistence by state governors to continue running a joint account with the local government, a strategy which according to him, has been proven to be a hindrance to growth in the third tier of government.
“For the governors to insist that local government allocations passed through the joint account, l think it’s suspicious because this same strategy has been tried over the years and it has not yielded positive result.
“ At this point, I think the Federal Government has the right to try other mechanism by proportionately directing local government revenue straight to the local government account.
“We deliberated on local government autonomy during the 2014 Confab and addressing its implementation by this administration will be a step in the right direction.
“If the state governments actually meant well for the local people, they will not kick against local government autonomy as they have no right to deny the Federal Government an opportunity to try other methods aimed at delivering good governance at the grassroots.
“Since the council chairmen live among the local people, it gives the people a higher opportunity of having direct supervision and monitoring in terms of project planning and programmes implementation,” he said.
The traditional ruler also suggested the involvement of technocrats in local government administration, adding that local government council chairmen should be knowledgeable in planning and budgeting to properly address the plight of the rural communities.